The lovable and mischievous tykes Tommy, Chuckie, Phil, Lil, Angelica and Susie are back in the Paramount+ reboot of the ‘90s (and early ‘00s) Nicktoon Rugrats. Minus the new 3D animation, the new series is much like the beloved original, with the babies' original voice actors back in action. However, the voice actors were changed up for the parents, and another notable difference in the reboot is that Phil and Lil’s mom, Betty, is now out, and fans are loving it. One of the veteran Rugrats voice actors has shared her thoughts on the animated character’s open sexuality.
E.G. Daily, the voice behind many iconic cartoon characters, reprised the role of Tommy Pickles for the highly anticipated reboot, with Santa Clarita Diet and Dead to Me star and queer actress Natalie Morales taking over the role of Betty DeVille. Daily talked to TMZ about Betty being a member of the LGBTQ community, a notion that was suggested in the original, though never fully discussed during the Nicktoon's run. It turns out Daily couldn't be prouder about the representation being made abundantly clear in the rebot. In her words:
Betty [DeVille] is a member of the LGBTQ community, which is super awesome because our characters on Rugrats are starting to get more specific. Although we all kind of had ideas or feelings about them, the times we’re in, it’s really beautiful that people get to be who they are, and we’re embracing everybody’s freedom, everybody’s desire to be authentic. So yes, Betty is a member of the LGBTQ community.
Seeing gay characters on TV wasn't a complete rarity when Rugrats was first on back in the 1990s, but it certainly wasn’t as common and nuanced as it is now. Looking back on the original series, it seems very much implied that Betty’s sexuality was gay or bisexual, despite it being a kids cartoon. As far as whether or not the cast believed Betty to be gay in the original series, E.G. Daily said:
It wasn’t really spoken of back then because we did do it a while ago. So it wasn’t really spoken of… We just love her, period.
Nickelodeon first announced a Rugrats reboot was officially happening in 2018, along with a live-action movie that was intended to release in 2020. With the new Paramount+ series, it’s unknown whether the movie is still going to happen, but the fandom is likely here for it. Rugrats ran on Nickelodeon for nine seasons from 1991-2004, spawning the spin-off All Grown Up!, which followed the group as pre-teens for five seasons from 2003-2008. In 2016, co-creator Arlene Klasky shared her thoughts with CinemaBlend about a Rugrats reboot, where she confirmed that she had been in talks with Nickelodeon even back then. Five years later, it’s finally happened, and the franchise can now introduce new viewers to a slightly more diverse ensemble.
Rugrats is streaming now on Paramount+, along with the original series and All Grown Up!